Remember the Titans

True story films are a fun category and a great method of learning about history. For some, true story films are easy to get into because of the in-depth aspect about historical events. So, if factual films and history interest you, then you should check out these movies.

‘Remember the Titans’

Everything about Alexandria, Virginia was subtle and quiet, until the summer of 1971. This was the year the school board decided to integrate T.C. Williams High School. The head football coach would be forced to step down for an African-American head coach and the football team would become integrated for the 1971 season. People in the town were less than thrilled at the events taking place and many parents threatened to transfer their children to neighboring schools. The players, both black and white, wanted nothing to do with the opposite race at the beginning of their annual football camp. But with the help of their determined and open-minded new head coach, by the end they had learned to not only like each other, but protect each other as well. The T.C. Williams had all the pieces to be the best football team in the state of Virginia, but had some prejudice obstacles to overcome first.

‘Lincoln’

This Academy Award-winning film starring Daniel Day Lewis turned a lot of heads in 2012, making many aware of how far we’ve come as a nation over the past 150 years. The film follows former president Abraham Lincoln in the last few years of his presidency as he tries to reunite a nation divided by slavery and hatred. As Lincoln tries to uphold his values and prove that the 13th amendment is something he deeply believes in, the Civil War and the Confederacy are trying their best to break apart a nation and tarnish the president’s name. This film is filled with A-list stars including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Spader. This was a film well deserving of its Academy Award for Best Actor as well as best production design. If you’re a history buff and enjoy learning about the civil war, this is just the film for you.

‘Apollo 13’

Apollo 13 is a film based on the unsuccessful trip to the moon in April 1970. The film follows astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise as they plan to walk on the moon, but their shuttle goes haywire due to technical issues. The team had been planning this for years; Lovell, Haise, and their pilot Ken Mattingly, but Mattingly was forced to give up his seat to Jack Swigert due to unknown health concerns. The trip was supposed to be routine, being the second time Jim Lovell had gone to the moon, but this would be the first walking on its surface. Just three days after takeoff, the Apollo 13 space shuttle lost one of its oxygen tanks and the team soon found out the second had a leak. The team realized their survival was more important than their chance to walk on the moon and aborted the mission. The team used advice from Mattingly to find a way to change course and get home without making carbon dioxide levels and freezing conditions worse than they already were.

‘The Pursuit of Happyness’

“The Pursuit of Happyness” is one of those films that after watching, can leave with you with a new perspective on privilege and how some have it easier than others. This film is based on the life of Chris Gardner in the early ‘80s, as he struggles his way out of poverty. Chris was a salesman, and dumped all the money he had into portable bone-density scanners. This didn’t go as planned and the machine's sales were nearly non-existent. The food he could supply for his son’s next meal would come from the money from the scanners. Chris soon landed himself a job as an intern for Dean Witter Reynolds, a very successful stock broking company. Chris must make his way to the top of swarming interns and land the job while managing to make everything seem as if it is okay in his home life, as living meal-to-meal and paycheck-to-paycheck is a very difficult thing to do. This feeling weighs down on a person 10 times more if they must provide for others as well.

‘American Gangster’

“American Gangster begins by introducing Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington), a well-known gangster who works for the notorious Bumpy Johnson in Harlem. Soon into the film, Johnson dies of a heart attack and Lucas must take over the crime business in Harlem. As Lucas starts rising in the crime world, New Jersey police detective Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) finds $1 million and turns it in to the police department. You could say Lucas and Roberts live opposite lives. Roberts has just been put in charge of finding local drug suppliers and Lucas is at the top of his list of potential suspects. Lucas decides to go back to his roots and bring his entire family into his business, knowing that family can be trusted. This soon turns out to be a bad decision as his cousins begin making rookie mistakes and become greedy. Lucas must decide if keeping the family around is worth a lifetime in jail.

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